SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Maximilian Maeder cemented his status as one of the world’s top sailors as he successfully defended his title at the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in Hyeres, France, on May 19.

This dominating performance comes hot on the heels of his triumphant win at the Qualified Nations Regatta, also held in Hyeres during the French Olympic Week on April 25.

Maeder, a gold medallist from the 2022 Asian Games, pulled off a stunning upset as he outperformed the world’s number-one ranked Formula Kite men’s sailor, Italy’s Riccardo Pianosi.

The Italian had to settle for a silver medal, while Austria’s Valentin Bontus, who finished fourth at last year’s competition, took home the bronze medal.

Overcome with emotion, a beaming Maeder almost struggled to find the words to express his sheer elation and pride after achieving the rare feat of winning back-to-back world championships, one which will probably cement his status as a kitefoiling legend at a young age.

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“I have to say it feels just as good as last time!”

“It was a great race honestly. Shame that we did not get to be as tight as some of the other ones. However I find sometimes, that is racing. I am in a rush right now, I don’t know what to say. This is the World Championship.

Only the highest level events in my opinion. It goes to show how happy I am. The competition is very strong. It is one to remember,” expressed Maeder in an interview posted by the International Kiteboarding Association.

Photo: Screengrab / formulakite.org

Fresh from his triumphant World Championship win, Maeder, currently ranked fourth in the world, will shift his focus to the pinnacle of international competition – the 2024 Paris Olympics, slated for July 26 to Aug 11.

The 17-year-old secured his Olympic spot after claiming gold at the Formula Kite World Championships in the Netherlands last August.

Maeder’s victory at the Formula Kite World Championships drew accolades from Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Edwin Tong, who publicly praised the young champion’s exceptional skill and dedication, recognising his outstanding achievement as a shining example of Singaporean excellence in international sports.

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“17-year-old Max Maeder has proven to be a formidable force once again, retaining his second consecutive world championship title at the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships.” 

This is an incredible feat, and a testament to his unwavering skill, composure and resilience. Exciting times are ahead, as Kite-foiling will be making its debut at the Paris Olympics 2024.

I’m confident Max will continue to fly high, and let’s keep cheering him on as OneTeamSG,” posted Minister Tong on his social media.

Earlier in the year, it was also reported that the Sailing Federation’s head of high performance and coaching, Chung Pei Ming, is working closely with the relevant authorities, such as the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Defence, to ensure that Maeder’s National Service obligations can coexist with his Olympic dreams.